Shankh Khiid, once known as the West Monastery, and Erdene Zuu are the only monasteries in the region to have survived the 1937 purge. Shankh was founded by the great Zanabazar in 1648 and is said to have once housed Chinggis Khaan’s black military banner. At one time the monastery was home to more than 1500 monks. As elsewhere, the monastery was closed in 1937, temples were burnt and many monks were shipped off to Siberia. Some of those that survived helped to reopen the place in the early 1990s.
The monastery is about 26km south of Kharkhorin. You’ll see it on the right side of the road as you approach the village of Shankh.